The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Christmas Letter 2020

 


Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

700 years before Christ is born, Isaiah tells us His name. His name is Immanuel. God with us.

In a time when we have been quarantined and isolated, His name is still the same. GOD WITH US.

This is our story in 2020. We made plans to finally redo our kitchen and dining area. This reno would also give the front of our house a nice face lift. January and February zipped by! With much excitement, we started to tear down the right side of our house in early March. We had the midsection of the house “secured” with plastic and plywood and about 1/3 of our house GONE when (PSA: Plot twist!) the Pandemic was declared and lockdowns ordered. Would we be able to work? Would we be able to get materials? Now everybody is coming back home and we are missing part of our house!

God with us.

Fortunately, we were able to continue working and surprisingly, 2020 has been our busiest year yet. We had more hands to help and more time since our kids did not have to go to school. Sounds wonderful right? The plot thickens because we quickly tired of working on the house and we were definitely tired of each other.

God with us.

Our favorite contractor, aka Dad, became overwhelmed with paying jobs, so he wasn’t very available to work on our house and tell us what to do. Although Saimon might run Evermon Homes someday, even he will admit (sometimes) he isn’t quite ready to run the remodel project. So the good news is that we hired many of our subs to come get the work done (Or at least get it substantially complete….by Christmas).

This was the kitchen window over the sink

We tore out the kitchen and moved it to the right

And made a new front entrance

Welcome!


And here’s the climax: As I reflect on 2020 and our remodel, I can’t help but think that we have had some demo and reno in our hearts too. I didn’t love it when we tore out sheetrock from the ceiling and old insulation and rat poop fell around us. Just like I don’t love it when the walls I put up are ripped away and the selfish ambition and pride is revealed. We saved some of the original shiplap from the roof and had to carefully pull each piece apart, remove nails, and clean it up. Jeremy hung it in the new breakfast room. It’s not unlike our family this year as we had to learn to talk through some hard things, give space and reaffirm the importance of sticking together always—especially as our kids get older and move on. We still have knot holes and splinters but as we fit together, we have a story to tell--kind of like that wall in our breakfast room.



Looking into the new breakfast room from the back

God with us.


Katerin graduated from UMHB on December 11, and she is looking for a job (get in touch if you know of something!) 



Emily is making it on her own in College Station. 



Marian just moved out to her first apartment and is working full time and starting Fire Fighting training. 



Wes is thriving in his Sophomore year at College of the Ozarks. 



Omar is happy to be the only Evermon at THS this year as a freshman. 


Saimon and Savannah look forward to joining him there next year. 




And all of us adore our two new additions to the family, Cocoa and Hiccup, the cutest boxers you will ever know.



Conclusion: Through the good and bad, and we have had a lot of good this year, God is with us. We hope you recognize His presence in your 2020 too. How have you experienced God with you this past year? His name is the same, from the first time Isaiah told us, to Matthew’s reminder when Jesus was born, today, and tomorrow.

That’s what makes Christmas so merry!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Thanks Uncle Ronnie

Dear Uncle Ronnie & Cindy,

I don’t know how you made it a whole month, but you did. I’m sure it was a month full of questions and companionship you weren’t quite expecting.

I want to say thanks. Thank you for wanting Saimon to come. Thank you for wanting him to stay. Thank you for teaching him how to rake and bail hay, 



how to count and feed cows and chickens, how to install gutters and vinyl siding, how to keep himself from getting kicked by the cows, how to grow watermelons and tomatoes and fruit trees properly, pick and shell purple hull peas, 


inspect and mend fences, get ticks off the dogs and cows, how to peel tomatoes for homemade tomato sauce, and how a rim coated in butter keeps the water from boiling over.

Thanks for letting him drive the trucks, tractors, and the mule. 


Thanks for letting him shoot at crows with the shotgun. 



Thanks for teaching him silly jokes and sayings he laughs at every time he repeats them.  Thanks for introducing him to “Alf” –his new favorite TV show. Thanks for picking up lunch with him right out of the garden. 

Thanks for being patient with him on long drives and longer days.

I’m sure there are many more lessons and memories yet to be told. But Saimon truly loved and enjoyed being with you and helping you work.


And we are so grateful he got to do that.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Lessons from my East African Sister

I found this draft that I had started in April 2018 on my blog. I don't know why I never posted it--probably just got interrupted by the daily busyness and never got back to it. This was written when we shared our home with a family of 7 for 11 months...

I don't know what it's like to be black

I called a friend to ask for prayer and catch up. When I asked her "how are you?" Her answer came slowly and cautiously, "It's been rough the past few weeks." 

Pause.

I waited and then urged her to tell me more. Throughout the rest of our call and the rest of the day I realized...

I don’t know what it’s like to be black. I don’t know what it feels like for race, discrimination and biases to be a huge part of my life. I don’t know what it’s like to experience hurtful comments and emotional injuries to my personhood in every aspect of my life—my neighborhood, my church, my job, my school, my ministry, my travel--because of the color of my skin. I don’t know what it is like to navigate this with my black children.

I know there are many injustices, but I don’t know what it feels like, as a black woman, when racial injustice gets lumped together with all the other sins and nothing changes, nothing is dealt with, and it is dismissed.

I don’t know what it feels like to live uncomfortable. To be on edge and afraid to travel--especially at night. I don’t know what it is like to ignore, to look past it, and fix my face when comments are made and looks are given because I am black. I don't know what it's like to tell one of my kids to "fix your face" when someone has just hurt them.

I don’t know what it’s like to be black.

My friend does. She shared these things. This is just one small glimpse into her world. This may not be every black person's story, but it is hers. And I am undone. She is my friend and I had no idea. I'm so sorry for that.

 

I look at the news and I know I cannot change the world and make all of these painful things go away. So I turn to my friend and ask her, how can I love you?

Reach out, check in, be normal, be a friend.

Talk and ask questions.

Be willing to be uncomfortable.

That’s a start.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Quarantine Week 4


We are at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic week 4 quarantine. My emotions have swung from being grateful everyone has more time at home to grouchy that everyone has more time at home. I have moments of grace—I look for those moments in each day when I wake up and recall what the day before held.


But seconds after I write down what I remember and before I finish my coffee, I am already disgruntled by the big, hard things going on…like dreading school work, hoping to get some office work done before kids show up at my desk, while not knowing what to do with all the other perplexing thoughts crowding my mind. 

It’s the latter that gets me the most.

A few days ago I texted a friend that I was praying God would use this time to help us all work through what we all needed to work through….that we didn’t miss it. The day after that text, all Hell broke loose. Or Heaven? Is this how God was going to answer my prayer?

I believe sometimes it does feel like Hell when God is doing His most important work on us. Uncomfortable. Uncertain. Unlikely. un Un UN! It’s NOT fun!

I am uncomfortable with no control. I am uncomfortable not knowing.
I am uncertain I’ll see change…ever.
If God is answering my prayer, He is choosing an unlikely path. A path I would not have chosen.

So what do I do in the meantime?
Pray.
Meditate on Scripture.
(this week I’ve been staring at Psalm 91)
Take it one day at a time.
And change the ending of those UN words.

I will not underestimate the God who loves me and who daily displays his mercy, power, and grace on us.
I will ask for understanding for myself and those around me where things are unclear.
And I will trust that God is working in a million untold ways to draw us to Himself, make us more like Him, and to remind us He is with us in the trouble.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Another launch

A lot has changed since I wrote this post. And even more has changed since we took this picture...

Dear Wesley,
You have become a person I really like. You know I have always loved you with my whole heart, but now you are a person that I like...a whole lot.  You are a person I really enjoy being with. I love how you make people laugh. I love how you can dance with friends, old ladies, pre-schoolers, or just by yourself and you have fun with it no matter who is around.



When these pictures were taken, you were able to climb out of your little bed and make your way to a cozy place between mom and dad every night. We would wake up to take you back to your room some nights and eventually we would just wake up to the alarm and find you in between us. We thought you would never grow out of it....but you did.





I love how you love adventure. I love how you love experiences. I love how you love your quiet spaces too. Many times I have found drawings or letters written during those quiet times showing what you care about, what you think about, what you wish for. 


I love your patriotic spirit. I love that you care about our Country and the people who serve to keep us free. I love that your passion and interests will grow and take more shape as you go to a school that shares the same values.
9 months
Age 10
Age 14
Age 16
Age 17

almost 18

At this point in your life, at age 18, you are the most delightful person. I was kinda joking kinda not when I told you the first 17 years were just okay, but this year has been so fun. So fun to see you grow and mature. So fun to see you making choices that honor God. So fun to have you home a little longer and have you come and talk to us about your disappointments and hopes.

As you leave, things change. You will hardly be home in 2020 and you will be missed by all of us here. But I am so excited for you. I am so looking forward to the new adventure, new friends, new lessons you will learn. 

You will learn things that you could not have learned under our roof. And I am confident you will continue to be a person I like. A truly delightful person. A person who cares about others and who is cared about. And no matter what, I will love you with my whole heart. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Christmas 2019


In 2019 we have 3 kids in Junior High and 4 kids out of High School!

Do you like rollercoasters? Sometimes life feels like a rollercoaster. Some rollercoasters are fun, I’m sure, but some have hard, quick, painful turns and creak as you take the slow rise up. It’s hard to enjoy the view as you creak upward because you are dreading the next fall. I confess I’m often guilty of worry and dread when I should be grateful for the current view. My Christmas letter each year is a chance for me to breathe and just take in the view.

As 2019 passed, one truth is sure, God has been very close. Close in the waiting. Close in the apprehension. Close in the hopes realized and in the disappointments. And in ALL of it, we can see His bountiful goodness.

Goodness is shown through His people oftentimes. Marian, Katerin and Mom visited Colombia for the first time since our adoption. We planned on a short trip to see birthfamily and enjoy Colombian food. Upon entering the country we were told the girls must have new passports before they would be permitted to leave. We only had 3 days! But a missionary we had barely met ushered us in securing documents miraculously fast that would allow us to come home just two days delayed. (talk about a ROLLERCOASTER)! She also graciously facilitated our first reunions with birthfamily.
Jeanene with Children's Vision International

Emily graduated from the PATHS Program at Texas A&M in May and is living in Bryan with her kitty, Daisy. Like many 20 year olds, she is trying to find a job and figure out what she is supposed to do with her life. She loves her church. Emily is being mentored and enjoys her Life Group and church activities—it’s her biggest motivation to finding a job there.


Wesley learned about College of the Ozarks on New Year’s Day this year, the day after priority applications were accepted. He applied late, and then we discovered he was one of probably 4,000 applicants and C of O only accepts 400 freshmen. Our visit to campus last February only increased our hope and apprehension of Wes not being accepted. In the waiting, God kept introducing us to people connected to the school and with each introduction, more letters of recommendation were sent on his behalf. Wes got a call at the end of July with his Acceptance for January 2020! We are beyond grateful and excited, but pray for us (mom especially) as we head out in a few days to take him to Branson, MO.

Last Spring, another “impossible” event took place in our family….Dad agreed to letting Savannah have 2 indoor cats! Savannah is the best cat mommy to Snowball and Clarabelle and thankfully they are sweet enough for the rest of us to endure the cat hair and cat litter in the back room. I keep hoping the cat hair will motivate the boys to get their clean clothes off the couch and put away. That might be one hope not realized until they move out.


Last March some of you supported Jeremy, Katerin, Marian, and Wesley as they went on a mission trip to Honduras—thank you! They not only used their gifts in speaking Spanish, but they got to share the True Gift, Jesus. Jeremy had the privilege of seeing Marian, Wes, Katerin and all the students partner with the ministry there and serve courageously. What a view! Some of you also generously supported Katerin as she served in Central Asia for 8 weeks this past summer. She shared some reflections from her time there here.  


Omar, Saimon and Savannah are in Junior High together. Do you remember what you loved about Junior High? Me neither! It’s a rollercoaster for sure, but overall I am proud of them for who they are becoming. They face things I never have had to face, and I see them grow stronger and more confident as they handle challenges. I admire them for that.

Recently our family said goodbye to our sweet dog, Maddie--she was the best dog for our family. We wanted to believe she would always be with us. She is missed every day. We are so thankful she chose us and was ours from January 11, 2011 to November 30, 2019.


On this rollercoaster, I am challenged to keep my head up and eyes on our good God, instead of on my white knuckles clinging to the safety bar.  God is so good, it’s not even fair. Do you know Him? He made a way through Jesus. If you haven’t heard, He’s a pretty big deal. He changed everything when He was born in a manger long ago. He changes us. And that’s so good of Him.                                                                                           Merry Christmas from all the Evermons!